It’s here! The Youth Leadership Initiative (YLI) Survey was created to help capture vital behaviors that will lead youth, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to become effective leaders for our churches and communities. Take the survey: www.nowlcms.org/yli
The NOW District charged a team of youth ministry professionals via Dust Kunkel (Director of Ministry Leadership), led by Jonathan Kopecky (DCE), to tackle the question: “How do we find and cultivate great leaders, especially within ministry?”
Over the past year, these leaders have worked on an initiative to identify behaviors that are consistently present in youth (and the leaders around them) who not only take ownership of their faith but also serve as leaders in their church, youth ministry, work, etc. Why is this so important? We don’t just want our young people to “not lose Jesus.” We want to identify the “vital behaviors” that help youth become leaders and grow as leaders.
Ultimately, the core purpose for conducting this survey is to encourage every leader, mentor, and parent to help youth:
1. Know they matter deeply to God because of Jesus;
2. Have a valuable place and position in God’s Kingdom;
3. Grow as significant contributors to the ministry wherever they are.
As I am sitting around a dwindling campfire, with the cold setting in, I realized that tending a campfire is like leading ministry. If you leave it alone, it will either go out or burn the place down. The purpose of a campfire is to provide a place of warmth for preparing a meal, hanging out with loved ones, or to merely unwind from the day. Have you thought about what all goes into tending a great campfire/ministry lately? If you answered “fuel (wood), spark (a match), and oxygen,” you would be correct in the basics of what a campfire needs. But there is more to each of those needs, and it seems to be the same with ministry as well.
My personal ministry philosophy about who can be lead within a ministry comes from the story in the Bible of Balaam’s donkey. If God can use a donkey, He can certainly use you or anyone that has been placed near you. Similarly, anything made from wood can be used to burn. Although if you try to burn new, green wood it may put the fire out, not light easily, or heat up the water within it and pop embers out of the fire. To have a good campfire that lasts, you need to age the firewood or have picked the correct tree to cut. Don’t forget to gather enough of it or the campfire will certainly go out in the coldest part of the night. In ministry we also would like to know that it will go on into the generations to come, and to do so we need to identify those who can be great leaders.
What we are attempting to do with the Youth Leadership Initiative is figure out how to identify strong natural leaders (fuel for the fire), find Biblical best practices for raising up strong leaders (tending the fire better than we do now – our role), and letting the Holy Spirit fan the flame (oxygen to control the flame).
As the team continues to work, we ask you for your help and participation. Join us as we are gathering fuel. We have set up a survey for leaders of youth within ministry, once we have gathered enough information, we will then ask the youth of your congregation to participate as well.